The Tourniquet: A Strategy for Defeating the Islamic State and Saving Syria and Iraq

  • October 16, 2014
  • Marc Lynch
  • Reports

"The Tourniquet, authored by Adjunct Senior Fellow Marc Lynch, lays out a strategy for internationally legitimate and regionally coordinated large-scale but conditional assistance to Iraq and to Syrians. For Syria, the report argues for a "strategic pause" to allow the building of viable alternative governance in rebel-controlled parts of Syria, while rejecting the idea of partnering with the Asad regime against ISIS as both unrealistic and undesirable and acknowledging the constraints imposed by the absence of a viable Syrian opposition with which to work.  For Iraq, it argues for close support conditioned upon a commitment by Iraqi leaders to implement long-needed political reforms and by Kurdish leaders to remain within the Iraqi state. Regionally, it shows the importance of pulling back from debilitating proxy wars and warns against subordinating human rights and political reforms to the exigencies of a new war on terror.